Inexplicable rank decline, boredom & how to combat it

A month ago, I was 3 - 4k; I was winning games and I hoped I might be getting stronger for the first time in a couple of years. Fast-forward and I’m now 8k and losing to DDKs. I’ve reviewed every game in detail but I can’t figure out why I’ve suddenly become much weaker, and playing and discussing Go has started to feel tiresome. I expect some change is due to the new rank system, but surely not this much.

If I consult stronger players I always receive a cryptic answer like “You’re just thinking wrong. [with no explanation]”, “But have you ‘really’ tried to improve? [again, with no explanation]”, “It’s very easy to reach 1d.” etc.

I’m getting bored.

Are there any other stagnating / declining players here feeling the same way? How did you deal with it?


Find something interesting to do, yo~ Getting stronger isn’t the Holy Grail of go. You can just do something else.

No wonder you’re getting tired. Reviewing games is boooring.

Last time I really pushed to improved I ended up quitting go for half a year, I got so sick of it. I don’t do that anymore.

But it’s not like we know more than you about the way you should approach this. Everyone is different. I know some people can play go 24/7 and that’s “fun” to them. Find your balance. Maybe you’re better teacher. Teaching kids is possible even at SDK level. I don’t know.

As for the reason you got “weaker” - who knows. On your graph there’re some sizeable breaks. Or maybe you review games with bots and try to play like bots when it’s not your style. Also you might be tilted at this point.


It is impossible for anyone to truly know your whole situation, so any comments you get are likely to be hit or miss at best. It may simply be that you are exhausted. Exhaustion is often mistaken for boredom, may in fact cause boredom since a person doesn’t have energy to pursue an interest and interprets that as losing interest. It is possible that your slump is depressing you and therefore inducing an aversion that manifests as boredom. On the other hand, you may really be bored, and that is causing your slump. Yes, there are no answers here.

An educational theory posits that a slump often follows the learning of something significantly new. One can see this best in sports, where a slump follows the learning of a new technique because one is still awkward with the technique. With practice, this passes as the technique is mastered. This may well have application in go.

If boredom is the root problem, then as @S_Alexander suggests, do something different that you like, and/or perhaps take the pressure off by playing some unranked games just to keep your hand in. A word of caution, though. If you drop out, you may regret it later in life (I don’t know how old you are), as I know from experience. I was an excellent distance runner, got injured, had an operation, and spent four years training back up to my old level. But when I got there, I was psychologically exhausted. Real life had taken over, and I had failed to reconnect with old friends in the local running community. Like the famous scene in Forrest Gump, one night I just stopped. It wasn’t even a conscious decision. Now I regard it as the greatest mistake of my life, because I now fully realize how much competitive running meant to me. You seem to have a deep love of go, so it would be tragic if you gave it up only to find years later that you had made a mistake.


Thank you both for your advice. I think I’ll scale back without quitting: play just a little, spend more time on the forum, commenting on GoKibitz, hanging out in Go streams on Twitch, writing for Sensei’s Library and so on. I’ll take it easy for a while.


welcome back, by the way, your absence was noted by many regulars :heart: good to see that at least in some regard, you are ok :slight_smile: always a mystery when an online ‘friend’ goes offline… there are no doors to knock on to check in, all one can do is wait


And then…

That’s the most roundabout way I’ve seen to say “expect a forum post influx”. :stuck_out_tongue:

(I tend to get closer to finding answers by replacing “why?” with “because”. Don’t ask “why I’m bored right now and don’t want to play a game?” but rather “I don’t want to play a game right now because…”. It might seem stupid, but it’s easier to reach the cause when you state the fact rather than question it. It needs some honesty with ourselves, but you’d be surprised how well it works, and it might or might not have to do with Go at all. Things in our lives don’t exist in a vacuum.)


If I may add something. Boredom come sometimes to play the same things, do the same failures being too strong with weaker and too weak with stronger and indeed not seeing any future.
That happen I guess to a lot if not all of us. Called a step. May become the top of the hill. Ok.

Now to get up this, it need what? A personal crisis? Some enlightening? A book a video a friend? Who knows… Sure thing, it’s very hard to quit a wrong way you use to play and even before that to see what is wrong.

New ideas are here, great, let’s try and put it in the games. Now what we should expect is… To lose, not to win! We are so greedy thinking an idea is enough without putting it to work. Yeah you going to lose levels but that’s fair you ll earn more later, just a matter of practice (and patience)
You won’t care that much of the decrease if you have fun trying to access another higher level of go.

Let me tell you, these players lied to you, it’s not that easy to be a Dan player even for who’s said “gifted”. It’s not a good thing they told you this, it can really discourage the bravest when you put yourself too high goals. To become Dan is a long way to go for many players who weren’t born in a weiqi family, started to play in their 20 or even later… Who just “normally” discovered the game.


That’s a big mystery in go: we can sometimes beat easily “stronger” players and sometimes we lose against “weaker” players.
I think the whole ranking thing is overrated. :smile:

In fact I just disabled ranking from my settings and I feel way better. :grin:

Also I noticed that there are periods when my thinking is slow and hard, while in other moments everything seems much easier.

My suggestion is to avoid this dangerous idea that what is happening now will happen forever. It doesn’t work in either direction: when you’re improving and when you’re stalling. It will change eventually. And then it will change again.
Just look for a way to deal with it until next change… and have fun!


Cryptic answers always mean “come on man, don’t ask me how should I know?” and you should never take them at face value. As someone else noted, that part about being easy to get to 1d is quite inaccurate.

Anyway, I agree with everything that has already been suggested and the only things of value I have left to contribute is these two:
A) Sometimes playing too much might take some of the joy out of the game. For example, I like slow correspondence games and I am used to having 2-3 active games each time. I rarely reviewed my games, but I used to take 10 minutes to analyse each next move and find where to go and were to play. I enjoy that … now that I have 10+ games across servers, I cannot do that and a part of the game I enjoy is now missing (temporarily of course). One could say that I over-extended :wink:
B) Ranks on OGS are something that I do not understand anymore so I do not really take note of it. Sometimes I’d play against a player with the same rank, win and gain a whole rank! or lose and lose one whole rank! And I am like “come on, this is not right. Losing to an equally ranked opponent doesn’t mean that you should drop like a stone to the previous rank”. I’ve noticed that the phenomenon of the “elevator” (a player that wildly fluxuates in ranks constantly) is not really rare, so just ignore ranks and have fun with the game. Try new moves, different fuseki, different tactics, explore and play moves that belong to a different playstyle.

I usually have “phases” in my game (the “pincer everything no matter what” era was particularly funny and disastrous :stuck_out_tongue: ), so an idea like that might help you keep things fresh.


How about teaching much weaker players (through game reviews and teaching games)? That could help reinforce your understanding of the fundamentals (and identify flaws in your recent play).


I do a lot of that already, actually…


If you quit doing anything go related for a while, the hunger for go will return one day.
And if not, you will find another hobby. Go is just a game and there are more important things in life.
I quit go in 2001 because I was - just like you - bored with it. In 2919 I returned and now enjoy it again. By the way an absence of go doesn’t have to be 18 years; a shorter absence is also okay. But do come back! :sunny:
Somehow I think you may be thinking too much in terms of I must do this instead of I want to do this.
Good luck and wisdom.


Aha! You thought you were teaching weaker players how to play good, but it turns out they were teaching you how to play bad~ What a switcheroo!


In 2919 I returned



Haha, this picture gives a good impression of how I felt when I returned to a more than slightly changed go scene. I felt like Catweazle.

A lot of things changed:

  • “weird” moves inspired by AlphaGo
  • online go servers
  • no more paper versions of go magazines like Go World (with its beautiful covers)
  • no more filling of dame points

Also a lot of things didn’t change

  • the go nerd is still among us
  • still play with same boards and stones
  • the rules remained the same



This suggestion went wizzing past, I feel like it is good enough to deserve a bump.

Now that OGS has rank free mode, definitely worth considering.


Who won the forever tournament, time traveler?


Didn’t whizz past me; I’ve been taking heed of every post in this thread and appreciating all the advice c:

I have been playing and winning quite a bit of unranked, but I became a bit paranoid that my opponents weren’t really trying. But then, whether or not the opponent is trying can also be argued to be irrelevant…



No winner. Most of the participants didn’t even make it to the endgame, because they either dropped out of go (children, career, other hobby’s, etc), got senile, died of too much sitting and too little physical exercises or … (you name it).
The last two remaining decided on a draw in 2036 (and shortly after this draw they died of boredom). For years they had been the only two players left in the tournament.
When president Donald Trump in 2035 discovered that internet was the cause of all fake news, he decreed that internet be shut down (but he made an exception for Twitter). So that was the end of the forever go thing.

EDIT: My reverse memory always was a bit lazy. I just remembered that at the end - 2036 - Donald Trump was the only still active on the last dinosaur of social media: Twitter. Either his advisors didn’t inform him about this or he was informed but didn’t trust his advisors.